A mobile operating system (mobile OS) is the software that powers and manages smartphones, tablets, and other devices that can be used while on the move. Laptops are not included in this category as they run on operating systems designed for desktop computers. Mobile OS software can be divided into two main categories: open and closed. An open-source operating system allows the original code to be installed on devices for free, providing manufacturers the freedom to create unique experiences for users. A closed-source operating system prohibits modification; the original developer of the software has total control.
The most used smartphone operating systems worldwide are Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Much of Android’s success can be attributed to its commitment to openness – it was established as an open-source platform in 2007. Many different smartphone vendors – such as global market share leaders Samsung and Huawei – take the opportunity to use the freely available software, resulting in Android possessing a far greater share of the global market. Apple’s iOS is a closed-source platform and runs exclusively on its iPhones and iPads. Its share of the smartphone operating systems market continues to decline around the world, but strong relationships with existing customers have been formed through the brand – particularly in the United States – and loyalty to the iPhone is proving valuable in terms of Apple’s revenue.
Mobile OS updates are made available throughout the year and it is considered good practice to install the latest version on to devices for security reasons. The vast majority of iPhone users have installed the latest version of iOS, but the schedule of Android updates varies by device, manufacturer, and mobile carrier, meaning many users are not running the most up-to-date version of Android. The latest software developments from both Google (Android 10) and Apple (iOS 13) were released in the fall of 2019.
The mobile OS market has not always been dominated by Android and iOS; Symbian and RIM were major competitors as recently as 2009. Symbian software most notably ran on devices manufactured by Nokia, while RIM (Research In Motion) operated on the popular BlackBerry devices. However, both were slow to react to the increasing importance of software operating systems, allowing Android and iOS to capitalize and their innovative technology has paved the way for the market we have today.
This text provides general information. Statista assumes no
liability for the information given being complete or correct.
Due to varying update cycles, statistics can display more up-to-date
data than referenced in the text.
In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 28 most important statistics relating to "Mobile Operating Systems".